i am thinking of attempting my first build but i have a few questions towards the process.
i have no doubts that a homebuild is worth it on the money front as you save heaps on labour, unwanted peripherals and software.
i know you have to start somewhere but is it worth getting a company to build it for you and getting the testing and warranty they provide?
the only reason i mention that is because i would just die if spent my money on components only to fry something and then have no idea what is wrong
i notice this site has a really good step by step guide and was wondering if there are any tricks or things i should watch out for if attempting a build.
Most componets have a 1-5 year warrenty. You will save alotttt of money building one yourself. you can review every item that you are looking at here before you buy it so you know what you are getting.
Worth it? Heck yeah! Nothing like the satisfaction you get from choosing components, assembling them and flipping the switch to see them come to life. I just did that (mobo/processor/RAM upgrade) and it's great!
Follow the guides. If you're in a heating area with dry air and lots of static, be particularly careful. Set stuff on the anti-static bags and touch the bag before you touch the component. Touch the PC case before you touch any components. You don't want a big fat spark jumping to the pins of the processor as you go to pick it up. Or spend a few $$$ on a static strap and mat (I never have...) Make sure you have good lighting. I have a flashlight that goes on the battery for my rechargeable power tools. It stands by itself and I can aim it where I want. I like to see what I'm doing.
Work deliberately and carefully and you won't be posting stories about how you accidentally damaged something.
I agree with cia24 in that most components have warranties so, if you're patient enough, should a component fry or be DOA, then it's a non-issue.
Saving money depends on what type of build you're doing. Your low-end, basic computers are going to cost you more money to build than just purchasing a pre-fab system. However, to some of us, not getting the pre-loaded bloatware, selecting quality components, and the sheer enjoyment of building is worth the extra cost. For mid-range (power user) systems, you'll probably break even. For high-end systems (gaming systems), you would almost certainly save several hundred dollars.
The downside to building your own system is that you are your own tech support. If something goes wrong, it's up to you to fix it. The upside to building your own system (aside the the previously mentioned) is that you are your own tech support. You don't have to wait on the company to find and fix the issue. You, with the help of forums like this one, can usually figure out what's wrong in a matter of hours (rather than weeks). If a part is faulty, you can usually replace that part in a matter of hours, rather than the weeks it takes to ship it to the company have them repair it, and ship it back.
As long as I can build them, I will never purchase a pre-fab system.
If in doubts about compatibility between different components, do not always rely on pre-assembled computers (I've seen a few where the components are not fully compatible, especially for very new CPUs), but do use them as indicators, then ask in the forums.
You can also try to find something like this: http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/pcs/
The price is for the UK, but the system builder is pretty good, and will complain if you have selected something incompatible. I'm sure there must be something similar where you live (plus prices tend to be higher in the UK anyway).
If you follow the guides from these forums everything should be fine but do ask for help when in doubt!